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Wembley, Australia

Gartner A.,BMT Oceanica | Lavery P.S.,Edith Cowan University | Lonzano-Montes H.,CSIRO
Marine Pollution Bulletin | Year: 2015

Disturbances in seagrass systems often lead to considerable loss of seagrass fauna. We examined the capacity for seagrass fauna, across multiple trophic levels, to recover from disturbances, using empirical and modelling techniques. Model outputs, using Ecosim with Ecopath (EwE), were consistent with the results of field investigations, highlighting the models robustness. Modelled outcomes suggest second and third order consumers are likely to be negatively effected by disturbances in the seagrass canopy. Particularly piscivores, which once disturbed, appear unlikely to recover following severe declines in primary productivity. EwE also revealed the complex interaction between the duration and intensity of disturbances on seagrass fauna, which may differentially affect higher order consumers. Further, modelling predicted a variable capacity of higher order consumers to recover from successive disturbances, suggesting taxa with comparatively fast reproductive cycles and short generation terms would be more resilient than taxa with comparatively long generation terms and slow reproductive cycles. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. Source


Bejder M.,BMT Oceanica | Johnston D.W.,Duke University | Johnston D.W.,Murdoch University | Smith J.,Murdoch University | And 3 more authors.
Marine Policy | Year: 2016

Optimism and hope in conservation biology are supported by examples of endangered species recovery, such as the population growth observed in humpback whales in several of the world's oceans. In Australia, monitoring data suggest rapid recovery for both east and west coast populations, which are now larger than 50% of their pre-whaling abundance. The measured growth rates exceed known species trends worldwide and have no indication of diminishing. Under Australian Commonwealth legislation and regulations, these populations should be considered for downlisting, as they are not eligible for listing as a threatened species against all statutory criteria. A change in conservation status will produce new challenges for the conservation and management of a recovered species, especially with the Australian economic landscape experiencing large-scale growth and development in recent years. More importantly, a recovered humpback whale population may bring a positive shift in the research goals and objectives throughout Australia by ensuring other endangered species an equal chance of recovery while delivering hope, optimism, and an opportunity to celebrate a conservation success. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. Source


Serrano O.,Edith Cowan University | Serrano O.,University of Western Australia | Lavery P.,Edith Cowan University | Lavery P.,CSIC - Center for Advanced Studies of Blanes | And 6 more authors.
Global Change Biology | Year: 2016

The study of a Posidonia australis sediment archive has provided a record of ecosystem dynamics and processes over the last 600 years in Oyster Harbour (SW Australia). Ecosystem shifts are a widespread phenomenon in coastal areas, and this study identifies baseline conditions and the time-course of ecological change (cycles, trends, resilience and thresholds of ecosystem change) under environmental stress in seagrass-dominated ecosystem. The shifts in the concentrations of chemical elements, carbonates, sediments <0.125 mm and stable carbon isotope signatures (δ13C) of the organic matter were detected between 1850s and 1920s, whereas the shift detected in P concentration occurred several decades later (1960s). The first degradation phase (1850s-1950s) follows the onset of European settlement in Australia and was characterized by a strong increase in sediment accumulation rates and fine-grained particles, driven primarily by enhanced run-off due to land clearance and agriculture in the catchment. About 80% of total seagrass area at Oyster Harbour was lost during the second phase of environmental degradation (1960s until present). The sharp increase in P concentration and the increasing contribution of algae and terrestrial inputs into the sedimentary organic matter pool around 1960s provides compelling evidence of the documented eutrophication of the estuary and the subsequent loss of seagrass meadows. The results presented demonstrate the power of seagrass sedimentary archives to reconstruct the trajectories of anthropogenic pressures on estuarine ecosystem and the associated regime shifts, which can be used to improve the capacity of scientists and environmental managers to understand, predict and better manage ecological change in these ecosystems. © 2016 John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Source


Bejder M.,BMT Oceanica | Johnston D.W.,Murdoch University | Smith J.,Murdoch University | Friedlaender A.,Oregon State University | Bejder L.,Murdoch University
Marine Policy | Year: 2015

Optimism and hope in conservation biology are supported by examples of endangered species recovery, such as the population growth observed in humpback whales in several of the world's oceans. In Australia, monitoring data suggest rapid recovery for both east and west coast populations, which are now larger than 50% of their pre-whaling abundance. The measured growth rates exceed known species trends worldwide and have no indication of diminishing. Under Australian Commonwealth legislation and regulations, these populations should be considered for downlisting, as they are not eligible for listing as a threatened species against all statutory criteria. A change in conservation status will produce new challenges for the conservation and management of a recovered species, especially with the Australian economic landscape experiencing large-scale growth and development in recent years. More importantly, a recovered humpback whale population may bring a positive shift in the research goals and objectives throughout Australia by ensuring other endangered species an equal chance of recovery while delivering hope, optimism, and an opportunity to celebrate a conservation success. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. Source

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